Platforms: PC and Commodore Amiga
Wrecked: A Psychedelic Adventure was an Amiga and PC platformer, developed by KKOS and was apparently published by Healthwise. However, at present – only a shareware demo of the PC version currently exists.
Richard Cobbett covered the game within his Crapshoot column, where he talked about the strange edutainment game that had once appeared on PC Zone’s January 1995 covermount as a demo. It isn’t a particularly great game by any stretch of the imagination, but it is the content and story behind the game that inspires trying to find it in its final form.
The full game was described in the demo readme (re-quoted from Richard’s article) as consisting of “5 levels, 12 drugs and hours of Stoned action!!!!!!!“. The aim ultimately was to get as “high” as you can to be able to win and progress in the game.
Thanks to Twitter contributor @RamessesXIII, we’ve been informed that the game was fully reviewed in Amiga Format magazine back in May 1994, but the game has an internal year of 1993 and the PC version was almost a year later.
Thankfully a discussion would occur on the EAB forums, where two of the developers involved on the game would shed some light, and even mention about a sequel that was in the works called “Sloshed”. On the thread, poster Akira shares an excerpt from “The One” magazine in January 1994 which talked about the controversy surrounding the title:
“Healthwise, a Liverpool-based drug education body, picked up a little more publicity than it bargained for with the release of its new Amiga game, Wrecked, a ‘psychedelic adventure’ designed to educate its users about the dangers of drug abuse.
Having originally made the news in its local paper, the Liverpool Echo, the story was picked up by Granada TV, then Radio One’s Newsbeat programme and eventually made it all the way to the Sunday People.
The trouble is that most of the reporters involved missed the point of the whole exercise, and by the time the bandwagon had well and truly begun to roll, a number of consumer watchdogs and public figures (including two MPs, Timothy Rathbone and Olga Maitland) were up in arms, having firmly grasped the wrong end of teh stick by assuming that this game in fact promoted the culture of illicit drug taking.
“This was all just knee-jerk moral panic”, says Healthwise spokesman James Kay. “Neither Timothy Rathbone nor Lady Olga Maitland have actually seen any part of the game – nor have they taken the trouble to contact us and find out anything about how the game works.”
“Wrecked is ne wand controversial because it understands that young people take drugs because they enjoy them. This might be difficult for the rest of us to accept, but it’s no good hiding your head in teh sand and hoping that the problem will go away.”
A platform game, Wrecked is designed to be both fun to play and a serious way of educating people about the uses and misuses of drugs. The game’s central character, Jo, moves through the game scoring both points and drugs along the way. Each drug found has a different effect – amphetamines and cocaine work as ‘speed-up’ icons, while LSD allows Jo to see things which were otherwise invisible. The point of the game is that it points out that drugs have bad effects as well as good. “We don’t care too much if the game doesn’t appeal to MPs”, says Kay, “it wasn’t written for them”.
Healthwise is currently looking to set up national distribution for its game, but in the meantime Wrecked is available direct from the body itself – phone (051) 709 5505.
And remember… winners don’t do drugs!”
The game was actually completed and the developers were revealed to be Fred O’Rourke on the Amiga, the PC conversion was by Mike Hiddleston and graphics were by both Paul Salmon (of Denton Designs fame) and Colin Robinson. The game design was by Rebel City Software and James Kay. Both Fred and Colin suggest that they still have a copy of the game on the EAB thread, but this was some years ago now.
What wasn’t 100% clear was if the game actually got a proper full release (even though it was reviewed) and if a few copies managed to sneak out on both platforms. We heard back from Fred, who confirmed that the game was fully completed on both platforms and was released – he had even seen the game in its full packaging. Sadly, Fred no longer had anything of the game – so the hope is now with finding a copy that did sneak out or via Health Wise.
If you know more, or even picked up a copy of the full game – please do get in touch.
With thanks to @RamessesXIII and @mendelpalace87 (Mark Buckner) for info on the game. Also to Andrew Partis about The One review (now added) and Stephen Stuttard for the hi-res scan of that review.